24 January 2023

With the last of the mince pies and Christmas cake sitting uneasily after a period of over indulgence its time for another message. I’m sure the months are getting shorter.

It will be no surprise to those in healthcare that its been a complex and fraught period for the NHS. The combination of problems in primary care, flu, COVID, strikes and social care collapse has had a profound effect on the front of house services. Haematology too has been affected. You’d struggle to find someone who didn’t think this had been the busiest December/ January period they have seen. To cheer us in to 2023 the Prime Minister has pledged to cut waiting lists…..I cant help but feel this is a brave pledge in light of further planned strikes by Ambulance staff, nurses and a high probability of junior doctors joining the fray. There seems little sign of movement on pay at this time either. Mr Sunak’s pledge is perhaps protected by the distinct lack of minor details such as, for instance, by how much and when?

I’m sure you are already aware of the effect of disruption on blood supplies, but as a reminder NHSBT has requested that haematologists and blood bank staff work to conserve blood and platelet stock at least until the end of the month in an attempt to prevent escalation to amber or even red alert. Click here to view letter. 

The Christmas and New Year break means there is little else to report from BSH and our collaborators. Planning for the ASM has continued undeterred and I shall be unashamedly plugging this meeting over the next few months. The programme looks great with Plenary sessions on Myeloproliferative disorders, ITP, diversity in haematology, AI in practice, TYA leukaemia and changes to the classifications of haematological malignancy. Once again (and it wont be the last time) I urge you all to put the dates in your diaries.

And that, my dear colleagues, is it for this month. A slightly dry message, but with things as they are this might be as close as I get to a dry January.